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August 2, 2004

Tommy Haas


THE MODERATOR: Go ahead for Tommy Haas.

Q. When you first started this year, you said a goal of yours was to be in the Top 100. Do you need to reevaluate your goals for the year now?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, maybe a little bit. You know, obviously, one of my goals is not only to get into the Top 50 by the end of the year. You know, those were just the goals once I started getting back into my - I would call it - my second career, you know. The beginning was the middle of February. That was kind of the plan I had in mind. You know, luckily, I can make changes now, set some other goals.

Q. Why do you call it your "second career"? I mean, I know there's the big gap with the shoulder injury.

TOMMY HAAS: I mean, it's a huge gap. You know, I was not competing in a match for 15 months. It's quite a long time. So in my eyes, basically I just want to kind of forget about that and start new and see what I can make - do.

Q. How tough was that, after 15 months, to come back and start new? Was that a really tough thing for you?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, well, definitely. I mean, especially not knowing exactly where I would be playing my first couple matches. I also didn't really feel that great. That would have been normal anyway because I hadn't played in 15 months, competing, playing in front of a crowd. Plus, I couldn't serve that well yet. It took some time for me to kind of get back and see I can still play this game, maybe win a few matches. That's why I set those goals, kind of see if I can make it into the Top 100 at the end of the year, maybe win a title, because that's what it's all about for me right now. You know, it was not easy at the beginning.

Q. Do you feel like you're back now to where you were before the injuries and everything?

TOMMY HAAS: Those kinds of questions I really can't answer because, you know, where I was once was phenomenal - being No. 2 in the world. I had some struggles already that year with my shoulder, but I had some great success. I reached a career high No. 2, and I even finished the year ranked 11. I had the surgery last year in December. I can put all that behind me and start new. Everybody else seems like it's getting better. I feel like I still need to improve my game. There's a lot of areas I need to improve. Winning two titles this year obviously has given me some confidence, saying that I can still compete with the big guys - and that's very important for me. I am just slowly trying to progress my game again and see where I am maybe at the end of this year, and then I'll hopefully start fresh and good in 2005.

Q. At this point in your comeback are you judging the way you're playing based on how you feel out on the court, or are you looking more at just the results?

TOMMY HAAS: A little bit of both. I mean, depends, you know. Last week I lost to Andre 6-4 in the third. It was a tough match. Little bit over two hours. I think he played pretty good. Maybe I didn't use my chances, but overall I was pretty pleased with the way I was playing. You know, like I said, I can still improve a few things here, there. But there were some tight matches I lost even in the clay court season where I still felt like I'm kind of getting back into it, but I still feel sometimes there's things I need to improve. Then there's weeks like in LA where everything kind of just clicked and everything comes together. And, you know, it's kind of tough to keep playing on that level, but that's the goal, that's what I'm trying to do. And, you know, obviously when you win, you always kind of forget about how you play at certain moments. But that's why you have a coach, to kind of keep reminding you what to do and how to do it better next time.

Q. What was the difference today from your previous matches with Schuettler?

TOMMY HAAS: We played four times. Two times I had to retire. The other two times -- in Munich we played. It was a tough match. I was serving for it at 4 in the third, had some game points. Didn't make it. It was still a little bit where I wasn't feeling comfortable with what to do at the tight moments. The other time was in Sydney. Also tight, where I lost 7-6, 7-6. He's the type of player that likes to play against my game. He's a good counterpuncher. Finally, I got a win, which is quite important for me. Obviously, I don't think it was a pretty match today, but in the end it was just coming down to a couple points here and there.

Q. You and he are pretty good friends?

TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, we get on really well. We stayed together in the Olympics in Sydney in 2000. We're going to do it again this year, stay in the same room.

Q. What's it like having to play a friend in the first round?

TOMMY HAAS: You know, it's always hard. When we saw each other here, we haven't seen each other for a while. We kind of smiled at each other and say, "Have you seen the draw already?" Playing a first round is tough. Playing each other is tough, especially against him. I really like him on or off the court. On the court you have to kind of forget who you play. It's kind of tough to show my emotions, pump my fists, get all excited. I don't feel comfortable doing that when I know the person on the other side of the net and kind of like him. In the end you kind of still have to do it sometimes. I'm glad it's over with.

Q. You did allow yourself an arm raise at the end.

TOMMY HAAS: It was kind of tough. I had three matchpoints. He came back to deuce. We played some good tennis there. Saving those, I had another chance and thought, "If I get this game, it could be 5-All. Who knows what might happen?" I was kind of relieved. When you win a match, usually you try to kind of celebrate with a...

End of FastScripts….

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